Somewhere Under The Rainbow

This is a story for What The Pegman Saw,  This week Pegman took us to Cape Town, South Africa.  My story was prompted by the image below.  Thank you to Karen Lee Rawson for hosting.

To see other people’s stories and add your own, please click the link:


Somewhere Under The Rainbow

Two sergeants wait for the results of their promotion applications.

“Ngwenya passed then.”

“New Zealanders always do.”

“He’s from Khayelitsha.”

“Yah – an All-Black.”

“This is the new South Africa. Go with it.”

“Easy for you. You’ve had 400 years of being top dogs.”

“And now we’re right at the bottom.”

“You want to swap houses?”

“That land has been in my family for six generations.”

“Paid for by the sweat of six generations of mine.”

“Look, before Mandela got out, coloureds were number two in the pecking order behind whites. Now affirmative action puts you up there with blacks.”

“Only on paper. We used to be too brown. Now we’re too white.”

“The rainbow nation’s still young. You’ll get your chance.”

“Have you seen the flag? Six colours and none of them’s brown.”

“Good luck anyway. My ancestral passport came though. Pass or fail, I’m joining my kids in Europe.”

150 words


I hope no one takes offence at this story.  In South Africa the term “coloured” is used to describe someone of mixed race.  Although the scenario is fictional, all of the dialogue is based on conversations during which I was present while living in South Africa.  The words were not spoken by me.


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16 Responses to Somewhere Under The Rainbow

  1. k rawson says:

    I love how you captured such nuance in so few words. Superb!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent dialog. Truly authentic, and gives you a great sense of the era and the place. Well done

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The dialog felt so very authentic. Beautifully written, JS.


  4. Sandra says:

    Painfully accurate. There’s a relentlessness about the circle of arguments. And a cynical conviction too about the promise of ‘the rainbow nation’. .

    Liked by 1 person

    • JS Brand says:

      … and it’s no consolation that SA isn’t the only part of the world where history has a stranglehold that impedes the building of peace. Thank you for your kind comments.


  5. Dialogue worked very well in this piece. So much history and resentment and hope wrapped up in short sentences between two men, I assume. Nicely done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • JS Brand says:

      Thank you. I started with 3 characters, one of whom was a woman, but that meant using names to specify who was saying what. That was using too many words, so I dropped to two people. I decided not to specify the gender of either/both, but I have to admit the dialogue sounds masculine to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear JS,

    I so wish we could get break through the colour barrier, but I fear that’s just never going to happen. There will always be haters. The dialogue feels true to life here. Well done.




    • JS Brand says:

      Thank you Rochelle. I share your wish and your pessimism about the likelihood of its coming true. If the dialogue seemed true to life, that’s due to the fact I was making a collage of things I’d heard, rather than any skill on my part. I hope no one thinks I made up the New Zealander/All Black “joke”. A friend and I were in a beachfront restaurant, which was almost empty although the area was crammed with visitors, most of whom were black. We commented on the lack of customers and the waitress (who was mixed-race) answered, “New Zealanders don’t use restaurants”. We gave her a quizzical look and, with an exasperated air, she said, “You know, ALL-blacks … they bring their own food and drink”. When writing the story I assumed the connection would be clear, but I’ve since realised rugby isn’t big in the US. In case you didn’t know, the “All Blacks” is the nickname of New Zealand’s national rugby union team. If you did know – sorry.

      Liked by 1 person

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